Ask, “Do we need a divorce?”

If you read the Strengthen Our Marriage case study: Go down to Do Bill and Betty need a divorce?

Let’s meet Bill and Betty.

Bill and Betty both had active careers before they married.  When Betty got pregnant Bill suggested that she stay home to raise the children.  She loved her career, but she considered staying home.  For some reason that she couldn’t quite identify she was really uncomfortable quitting her fulltime job.  Something just told her, “Don’t do that.”  After a long struggle, she did resign.  She did, however, continue to do some consulting assignments from time to time for her old boss Don, as well as some consulting for former co-workers who got hired away to other companies.

They have the two children they wanted to have. She really loved having them and staying home with them in the early years, particularly before they went to school.  Now they are in school and doing well. They really don’t need her anywhere near as much as they did.  The more consulting work she does, the more she wants to be around the people at work.  She tells Bill that she wants to consider going back to work.  In fact, Don just told her about a job opportunity that really interests her.  She tells Bill.

Bill says, “Stay home.  You don’t need to work – I make plenty of money.”  Betty gets that old nagging feeling she got just before she quit her fulltime job. Going back to work fulltime just seems so right for her now.  And, the more Don tells her about this new opportunity, the better it sounds.

The more excited Betty gets about this new job, the more Bill resists it.  She says, “You’re trying to control me. This is my big chance – it’s in sales, and I am really good at sales.  I can make huge commissions – I want to go for it.”

He says, “We have a good life.  Why do you want to disrupt the kid’s and my life this way?”

Suddenly Bill needs to work late more.  Is he really working late or is he going to dinner with someone who is consoling him because he tells her that his wife doesn’t appreciate what good care he takes of her and the kids?

Do Bill and Betty need a divorce?

Why do they have these conflicts?  Can they solve these conflicts in such a way that they can be happily married? Betty’s and Bill’s PSAs© tell us.  Let’s look at them and find out.  Read 1.-9 on the “Bill and Betty” Chart below.

Open the Test Results and print them out.  Now you can look at the Test Results as you read about Bill and Betty on the website.

Open the Test Results for Bill & Betty

HERE’S THE KEY: When Betty and Bill do A. they get happier.  When they do B. they take a step toward divorce.

Let’s look at 1.  Traditional Male/Female Views:  Bill is at 96%.  Betty is at 10%.

A. When Bill sees that Betty is so low in being a traditional female, he realizes that she simply cannot stay home any more.  That is simply not going to work. They start figuring out how to help her go back to work.

B. Bill simply does not accept that Betty needs to go back to work.  His mother didn’t work, and she doesn’t need to work either.  They have plenty of money, he loves taking care of her, and this is just not a decision that she is allowed to make.  Betty feels trapped and is angry.

2. Achievement: Bill is at 95%.  Betty is at 90%.

A. They decide not to let their need to achieve hurt their relationship – they make time for each other. They do not work late unless there is a must-handle-now emergency.  And on the weekends they always have Date Night.

B. He feels like her part-time work is more important to her than he is.  She begins to realize that she can either stay in this marriage and feel trapped and be angry or do such a good job at her part-time work that she will get the fulltime job that Don tells her is coming available. 

3.  Dominance: Bill is at 95%.  Betty is at 30%.

A. Betty likes to have a career, but she doesn’t need to make the decisions. Bill makes good decisions.  He has learned to listen to what she wants.  They create options together.  She typically says, “I could do option 1., 2. or 3.  You decide.”  And he does.

B. Bill doesn’t like what Betty is telling him that she wants.  So, he discounts her input and makes decisions that he likes without making allowances for what Betty wants. Sometimes he doesn’t even ask her what she wants.  He decides what is best for everyone and just does it.

4.  Autonomy means each can handle any complete project without asking anyone.  How do they handle this?  Bill is at 88%.  Betty is at 80%.

A. When there’s a project to do, whoever feels stronger about it gets to do it.  The other one has to live with the results.  If each one feels strongly they flip a coin or split it.

B. Whoever feels stronger about the project still gets to do it, and the other one lives with the results. However, now when they both want to do the project, they have a big fight.  Usually the project just doesn’t get done.  And both get angrier and angrier.

5.  Economic Value: Bill is at 50%.  Betty is at 98%

A. Bill had no idea that Betty values getting paid for her work as much as she does.  He doesn’t value getting paid for his work any more than the next person.  Unless he had seen her values scores how would he ever have guessed that that getting paid for her work was so important to her?  He can see the advantages this creates for both of them.   College will be a lot easier to fund now. So will retirement. And they can take great trips all along the way!  Awesome!  Now Betty knows why she has always had that nagging feeling, “I don’t think I want to quit my job.”

B. Bill is really upset that Betty values getting paid for her work.  Now he will never be able to convince her to stay home.  That’s a real Bummer.  “All my dreams of taking care of Betty just went down the tube.  Now that she knows this, she will take that job, and I won’t be important to her at all.  Dang.  I am going to have to divorce her and find someone else to take care of.  Are there even any women out there who will let a man take care of them?  I haven’t dated in years.  If they are there, how will I ever find them?”  Betty is really perplexed.  “I am really glad to be going back to work – this is a great job.  Do I really have to give up my marriage and drag our children through a divorce just to do what I really need to do?  Can’t we work something out?”

Look at the Chart.  Begin to guess what Bill and Betty can do.  There are lots of ways to solve this.  As you take a closer look at Betty’s and Bill’s PSAs©, what else do you see?

6.  Optimism: Bill is at 30%.  Betty is at 20%.

A.  Why would either be Optimistic when they love each other but are so unhappy and don’t understand why?  As they see what to do to resolve their issues and do resolve them their Optimism goes up.

B.   As they grow farther and farther apart Optimism does not go up.

7.  Deference: Both are at 16%.

A.   Neither gives the other’s view serious consideration – how could either feel valued?  Their marriage and family therapist gives them tools that help them listen to each other.  As they hear each other better and give each other’s views serious consideration, each one feels better.

B.  Neither commits to giving the other one’s views serious consideration.  Each gets depressed,

8. Nurturance: Bill is at 12%.  Betty is at 75%.

A.  She takes care to be sure that he gets his emotional needs met – and what happens to hers? Their marriage and family therapist coaches him on nurturing, he nurtures more, and it works.

B.  If she will not do what he says he really does not want to nurture her.  So now she doesn’t want to nurture him, either.  The children see this and become alarmed.

9.  Affiliation: Bill is at 1%.  Betty is at 84%.

A.   When he doesn’t meet her emotional needs and seriously prefers to be alone, how will she get her needs met when she stays home?  She can safely get attention by interacting with people at work and church. He sees that this works.  He doesn’t have to go to activities that he doesn’t want to attend.  That works for both of them.

B.  The marriage is now in such bad shape that right now neither cares to resolve this.

Glance at the other personality strengths.  What do you see?

1.  For instance, look at Aggression and Aesthetic Value (Harmony).  Bill values Harmony, and he is Aggressive.  Could he perhaps learn other ways to get what he wants rather than being Aggressive?  He is high in Ability to Ask for Help.  He could ask a therapist to teach him other ways to get what he wants.

2.  Look at Change – Betty is high in this.  When the therapist teaches Bill more ways to get what he wants Betty could help him makes these changes permanent.

Yes, if both Bill and Betty decide to work on the marriage they can take their PSAs© to the therapist to give the marriage another chance.

You may want to look at other ways that Bill and Betty can help each other because of each one’s personality strengths.  Fill in the blanks with what you think….When you and your life partner get your PSAs© you can fill them in, too.

Can the two of you use your PSAs© to see how you as a couple can help each other and get happier?

You betcha!

You already learned a lot about how a couple can use a PSA© by reading about Betty and Bill. You know a lot about your current situation.

1.  If you haven’t already done so:  Print out Bill’s and Betty’s PSAs©.  You can print out this case study, too.  Scan them and save them as a document in a folder named “Will We Do A. or B. with our PSAs©?”

2.  Go back to the Home Page and order your PSA©.  When you take your tests:  Think of yourself as you are when you are at your very best.

3.  After you get your PSAs©:  Use them to help you understand how to use your PSAs© to see how to use each person’s personality strengths to make your couple relationship to be all that it can be.

4.  The more you think together about your strengths the more you will see how to make them work together…and you get to see how they build together for all of your life.

You can do this!

Ready to purchase your PSAs?